Music Theory Syllabus

Section 5 - Harmony

This section only appears from Grade Two onwards.
Questions in this section largely focus on the candidate's ability to relate the knowledge of scales and chords, from Sections 1 and 2, to practical music-making situations - such as improvisation and composition of chord progressions.
Further information on all aspects of this section of the examination is given in the grade handbooks - which also contain sample questions and answers.

Grade Two

  • The pattern of major and minor triads in the key of C major.
  • The technical terms for the I, IV and V chords.

Grade Three

  • The pattern of triads built from major and natural minor scales, up to and including 2 sharps and 2 flats.
  • The technical terms for the I, IV and V chords.
  • V-I and IV-I cadences in major keys up to 2 sharps and 2 flats.
  • Constructing chord progressions in the keys of C, G and F major.
  • The application of major and natural minor scales in improvisation.

Grade Four

  • In a range of keys up to and including 3 sharps and 3 flats:
  • the patterns of major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th and minor 7thb5 chords built from major and natural minor scales;
  • constructing chord progressions, and constructing and identifying V-I and IV-I cadences, using chords built from major and natural minor scales;
  • the application of major, pentatonic major, natural minor and pentatonic minor scales in improvisation.

Grade Five

  • In a range of keys up to and including 4 sharps and 4 flats:
  • the patterns of major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th and minor 7thb5 chords built from major and natural minor scales;
  • constructing chord progressions using chords built from major and natural minor scales and the dominant 7th chord built from the harmonic minor scale;
  • constructing and identifying commonly occurring cadential chord movements;
  • the application of major, pentatonic major, natural minor, pentatonic minor and blues scales in improvisation.

Grade Six

  • In a range of keys up to and including 5 sharps and 5 flats:
  • the patterns of major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th and minor 7th b5 chords built from major and natural minor scales;
  • constructing and identifying commonly occurring cadential chord movements;
  • constructing chord progressions using: chords built from major and natural minor scales; the dominant 7th chord built from the harmonic minor scale; and chords built from the following:
  • Dorian modal scales - D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G, C, F, Bb and Eb;
  • Mixolydian modal scales - G, D, A, E, B F#, C, F, Bb, Eb and Ab;
  • Lydian modal scales - F, C, G, D, A, E, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db and Gb.
  • the application of scales and modal scales from Section 1 in improvisation.

Grade Seven

  • As for previous grades, but in greater depth and to the full range of keys, plus:
  • the composition and identification of chord progressions using Phrygian harmony;
  • the composition and identification of chord progressions involving key changes to near and related keys;
  • using chord symbols to harmonise a melody in any key;
  • the application of scales and modal scales from Section 1 in improvisation, including recognition of key changes to near and related keys.

Grade Eight

  • As for previous grades, but in greater depth and detail, plus:
  • using chord symbols to harmonise a melody which may change key (to near and related keys only);
  • the composition of chord progressions demonstrating modulation to a full range of keys;
  • analysing chord progressions that use non-diatonic chords;
  • the application of scales and modal scales from Section 1 to improvisation, including recognition of key changes to any key.
Home | Aims | Accreditation | Marking | Regulations| Introduction
Sections:
1-Scales and Keys | 2-Chords | 3-Rhythm Notation | 4-Knowledge of Popular Music | 5-Harmony | 6-Transpositions
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